Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cessna 172I Skyhawk, C-FXAV: Fatal accident occurred September 21, 2016 on Fairbank Lake in Greater Sudbury, Ontario

While investigators have not yet determined the cause of a float plane crash in Sudbury's Fairbank Lake Wednesday, Sept. 21, that killed its 61-year-old pilot, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada says the time of the crash is one factor under consideration.

The crash occurred at around 8 p.m. that night, said Ken Webster, an aviation investigator with the Transportation Safety Board.

“Generally float planes are required to operate during daylight hours so they have the visual reference needed to fly,” Webster said. “Lakes don't have runway lights on them, so they're required to operate during the day.”

The Transportation Safety Board deployed three investigators to the site of the crash to assist police and the coroner's office with the investigation. 

The investigators can make recommendations to aircraft safety after a crash.

But the depth of Fairbank Lake – northwest of Whitefish – has complicated the investigation, said Webster.

“Normally at this stage of the case we would have wreckage to look at and examine,” he said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Webster said most of the aircraft was still around 135 feet underwater.

Investigators have been in talks with the aircraft's insurer to determine how they could retrieve the float plane from the bottom of the lake.

Once they get the float plane to surface they can see if any mechanical issues contributed to the crash.

After the crash residents in the area were able to rescue the float plane's 32-year-old passenger.

But Brian Hickey, 61, did not survive the crash.

A visitation for Hickey takes place at Lougheed Funeral Home on Regent Street from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Sept. 30.

A funeral mass takes place at St. Pius X Church in Lively on Oct. 1 at 11 a.m. A celebration of Hickey's life will be held at the Uxbridge Curling Club on Oct. 15 from 1 to 5 p.m.

For those who wish, memorial donations may be made to Meals on Wheels programs in Sudbury or Uxbridge (phone 905-852-7445).


A pontoon from a plane that crashed on Fairbank Lake rests on the shore. 

Searchers have located the body of the pilot whose float plane crashed landed on Fairbank Lake on Wednesday.

Greater Sudbury Police said in a release that members of the OPP’s Underwater Search and Recovery Unit located Brian Hickey, 61.

The aircraft sank into 130 feet of water after the crash. Hickey's body was found underwater, but outside the plane, Staff Sgt. Tim Burtt said.

"It's not what you want to see, unfortunately," Burtt said. "It's a difficult time for the family and the friends, that's for sure."

No more information about the pilot was immediately available.

A passenger, a 32-year-old man, was rescued and treated in hospital for minor injuries.

The crash is still under investigation, with members of the Greater Sudbury Police Marine Unit and Search Team, OPP and Transportation Safety Board Canada investigators taking part.

The search has involved a C-130 Hercules plane and a helicopter from CFB Trenton.

No information has been released about the cause of the crash or where Hickey and his passenger were headed at the time of the crash.


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